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Research projects

*Please note that this page is under construction. Content is for now incomplete.


Patterns of Digital Behavior on WhatsApp Platform

The main objective of this project is to investigate the use of the WhatsApp within the young generation in Romania. Mainly, the project investigates the digital behaviour of users in relation to: the uses and gratifications of instant messaging, the circulation and consumption of news/information, and the behavioural patterns, which can potentially enable the spread of online misinformation (fake news). The project sheds light on the specific uses/gratifications of WhatsApp, such as emphasis on conversation and natural friendly interactions, which could foster circulation of problematic content, security and privacy of personal messages, viralization of memes and other potentially influential non-personal content etc. The main research questions guiding this research project refer to the reasons Romanian people use WhatsApp, the gratifications obtained, the type of information people receive and/or share on WhatsApp and why and the behaviour patterns associated with the spread of problematic content on WhatsApp. In order to tackle these research questions, there will be used the media diaries - research tools usually used for personal reports on media consumption (usually TV), mostly used to assess media content people come across on a daily basis. This method will enable us investigate: the types of activities, the type of content (including problematic content), the gratifications obtained, in order to identify behaviour patterns specific to Romanian young people.


COST Action IS1308

Populist Political Communication in Europe: Comprehending the Challenge of Mediated Political Populism for Democratic Politics

[project website]

This COST Action brought together researchers to investigate populist political communication and its impact on democratic political life across Europe. This was necessary not only in light of recent populist backlashes in many democracies against governments and political and economic developments, but also in respect to changes in national media and communication systems. The 4-year EU-funded Action was coordinated by the Grant Holder – Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim). The Romanian scholars who participated in this Action are: dr. Nicoleta Corbu, dr. Elena Negrea-Busuioc (both from the College of Communication and Public Relations, NUPSPA) and dr. Delia Balas (Babes-Bolyai University). More info on the COST Action IS1308 here.

In May 8-12, 2017, the College of Communication and Public Relations hosted the COST Training School called Disentangling populism: Reception and effects of populist communication, as part of the Year 3 activities of the project. The Training School called Disentangling populism: Reception and effects of populist communication aimed to explore the intricacies of populist communication in light of the challenges that the rise of populism throughout Europe poses to mainstream understandings of democracy. While a great deal of scholarly attention has been directed at the study of populist politics and ideology, less systematic preoccupation has been shown for research on the communication practices used by populist parties and politicians, on the complex relationship between populism and the media and, not ultimately, on the effects that populist discourse might have on citizens in terms of mobilizing them and, possibly, engaging their support for populist parties and actors. The main beneficiaries of the School were young researchers across Europe (PhD students, post-docs, Early Stage Researchers) interested in intensive training in populist-related topics and research methodologies.


Understanding Technology Later in Life

[project website]

This project goal is to reveal particularities of using technologies later in life, by assessing the role of computer anxiety, using an integrative methodology. Computer anxiety is defined as an individual’s fear or apprehension of working directly with a computer or the anticipation of having to work with computers (Powell, 2013). The project takes a critical approach in reaction to the current literature: 1) Older individuals are not an homogeneous group; 2) Computer anxiety has not always a linear negative effect on performance and certain level of anxiety can be functional in process of technology appropriation; 3) Studies should go deeper in their everyday practices, to understand more about the role, meanings and utilities attributed to different computer activities We aim to create robust models of explaining computer anxiety at elderly, using both individual and social predictors. We reveal also the value of social pressure and the meanings elderly invest in different type of technologies, by using a questionnaire based survey and semi-structured interviews. In addition, we set up a program of research that involves communities in the development of participatory action studies advancing deep knowledge about computer anxiety and innovative methodological framework. Also, by using netnography (Kozinets, 2010), we investigate the role of online communities in increasing or decreasing computer anxiety and the social influence factors in real interactions.